I love travelling but I don't like being a tourist. Feeling like a tourist is like being an outsider, somewhat of an impostor, a casual passer-by who is skimming a peak of the attractions and comes back to their clean orderly hotel room with a continental breakfast. These days anyone can travel anywhere without getting deep into the culture, experiencing the flavour of a place. Hospitality and retail chains make every new place look very similar to the one you just left so travelling mindfully takes an effort. This is why AirBnB is the way I prefer to travel.
When I visited Florence last summer, we stayed at an old converted church apartment that serves both as a home and a working artist studio to a painter. It is hardly possible to imagine a place more saturated with charm and character, textures, vintage objects of curiosity, old and new books and, of course, art. We stayed at our own loft inside the spacious apartment, drank wine, talked art and politics with our host over his stained kitchen table. We watched him smoke, sing and work on his massive canvases while the sun was setting over a small piazza outside. And the mess. I love it!
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